Janssen Biotech (formerly Centocor Ortho Biotech) has ways of making your immune system behave itself. The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary makes blockbuster biotech drug Remicade, a monoclonal antibody used to treat a number of autoimmune conditions, or diseases in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. It is approved in the US and Europe for several indications including Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis (a type of arthritis of the spine). The company also makes anemia therapy Procrit, oncology drugs Doxil and Zytiga, psoriasis drug Stelara, and rheumatoid arthritis drug Simponi.
Remicade is J&J's top-selling drug, reaching about $5.5 billion in annual sales, or 8% of total revenue in 2011 (up from $4.6 billion in 2010). Janssen Biotech has expanded the market for Remicade since it was first approved more than a decade ago (for Crohn's disease) by seeking and winning approval for additional autoimmune indications; the drug was approved to treat ulcerative colitis in 2011.
Procrit (known as Eprex in international markets) is another top seller, earning some $1.6 billion in 2011. The drug is used to treat anemia in patients undergoing treatment for chronic kidney disease, cancer chemotherapy, and other procedures. While it continues to hold a leading spot on J&J's drug list, Procrit's sales have fallen in recent years due to concerns over cardiovascular risks related to the drug's use.
Sales and Marketing
Janssen Biotech markets its products through direct sales, distributors, and partnerships. Its top seller, Remicade, is sold directly to consumers, doctors, and retailers in the US, while commercialization partner Merck markets the drug internationally.
To stay nimble in the face of market challenges -- including drug risk concerns and competitive demands (such as patent losses on older products) -- Janssen Biotech is looking to add new drugs through its R&D programs. The firm has a pipeline of candidates in preclinical and clinical research stages in areas including immunology, oncology, and nephrology, partly through collaborative efforts with the Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development unit, as well as other drugmakers such as Astellas and Genmab. In late 2014 the company entered into license agreements with Geron Corporation and Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals to develop cancer drugs imetelstat and CAR-T, respectively. Janssen Biotech has had a number of R&D triumphs in recent years; in 2011 prostate cancer drug Zytiga received FDA approval.
While it still believes in allowing its operating units autonomy, J&J has also been battling the effects of market challenges (including some manufacturing compliance troubles) by conducting broad restructuring and consolidation efforts. As a result, the company's name was changed from Centocor Ortho Biotech to Janssen Biotech in 2011; the move was part of J&J's program to unite its pharma manufacturing units under a new operating division, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, which also includes Janssen Pharmaceuticals (neurology and other drugs) and Janssen Therapeutics (HIV therapies).
Mergers and Acquisitions
To add to its pulmonary offerings, in 2010 Janssen Biotech purchased RespiVert, a private UK-based company engaged in the development of small-molecule, inhaled therapies designed to treat pulmonary diseases. RespiVert's lead compounds included potential treatments for asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and cystic fibrosis.